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Raccoon     Procyon lotor

Photo credit: Sugoto Roy

  • Appearance: Grey furry animal about the size of a large cat, distinctive dark eye-patches with thick bushy tail with a series of black rings.
  • Behaviour: Like to feed in water or to douse their food in water before eating, are able to swim.
  • Biology: Produce 2 – 5 young in early spring.
  • Diet: Fruits and berries, insects, crustaceans, birds, eggs, small rodents and reptiles. Can raid bins in urban environments.
  • Impact: Can threaten vulnerable bird species and displace native carnivores. Can interfere with game management and can damage growing and stored grain. May carry harmful diseases such including rabies (if animals have been imported), canine distemper, toxoplasmosis and a roundworm parasite that is highly pathogenic in humans.
  • Pathway: May have escaped or been deliberately released into the wild.
  • Legal status: Species of special concern listed under the retained EU Regulation 1143/2014 and the Invasive Alien Species (Enforcement & Permitting) Order 2019.
  • Unless you have a licence or permit or an exemption applies you must not:
    • keep them in your house, garden or business
    • sell them to other people
    • exchange them for goods
    • release them into the environment
    • let them breed or escape
    • import them into the UK
    • transport them within the UK
    • export them to other countries


  • What to do if you see Raccoon for sale or other offences being committed: Make a report by following the guidance here.


  • What to do if you see this animal in the wild:
  • This is an alert species, record it with a photograph (where possible).